20 November 2018

What Kind of Power Does India Want to Be?

by John Hemmings 

The rise of Asia has thus far been characterized by the rise of a powerful China, which looks intent on rebuilding the regional order to suit its interests. However, it is not the only rising Asian power. India, another great Asian power—a nuclear power with 18 percent of the world’s population and nearly 8 percent of global GDP at purchasing power parity (PPP)—is watching China’s moves carefully. Spending large amounts of cash across the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) on a number of strategic ports, China is wooing many states that have traditionally looked to India for leadership. There seems to be uncertainty in New Delhi on how to respond to this, and to some, it is yet more evidence that India must develop its foreign and security policymaking structures. Currently, the argument goes, India’s elites are struggling to discern both the trends that affect India and to lay out good policy options to deal with these trends. As a result, India’s foreign policy apparatus seems to just muddle along, unable to make grand strategy, much less, implement it.

Awakening to National Defence: Hope at Last?

By Lt Gen Gautam Banerjee

Clausewitz had prophesized that it was mandatory for a nation’s political leadership to possess a fair understanding of the profession of arms. For the military institution to deliver commensurate to the resources committed to its war-worthiness, the Ministry has to free itself from abject dependency upon archaic procedures and misinformed pinioning. Truly, civilian control over the military institution is exercisable by the wisdom of elected representatives and not through bureaucratic interpretations. For the nation’s political leadership to be competent to do so, it is mandatory that a deeper understanding of war is fostered among them. Indeed, that understanding must be the first among the principles of political management of a nation’s military institution. And the initiative to foster that understanding among the polity at large has to be the Minister’s first priority.

“What makes military failures more significant is the effect that they can have on society; military mistakes have a way of proving permanent…”

Geoffrey Regan


Lieutenant General Gautam Banerjee's Articles on Military Matters

List of Articles

1. Celebrating 1962 : A Golden Jubilee of National Blunder.


“ ...... a permanent piece of education ......” , Pandit Nehru referring to the 1962 debacle.


Who, in his right senses, would ‘celebrate’ a national debacle that rankles Indian conscience even after fifty years?

Recalling those days of late 1962, it is impossible to forget how terrible the trauma was. Shaken out of a fifteen years long dream-sequence of ‘swadheenta’ (freedom), every citizen of India was seized with grief as the news of the debacle filtered through. The wound upon the collective psyche` was aggravated by stories of unimaginable gallantry shown by officers and soldiers of the Indian Army in face of deprivation, death and defeat, and the contrasting breakdown of the ‘will to fight’ among many of the top military leadership. The political leadership, made of personages of impeccable vision and honour, was overwhelmed by the guilt of having invited war on an ill-prepared nation. The nation went into mourning. A fear of revisit of that situation remains palpable in the defence establishment till today.

A US attempt to keep AI out of China’s hands could actually help China

by Karen Hao

The US and China are in a race to become the AI superpower of the century. The perceived stakes are high: not only would the victor reap massive economic benefits,but it could also establish a new military edge. As Russian president Vladimir Putin phrased it last year, “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”

Not all experts agree—and most AI researchers don’t see themselves in an arms race at all. But that hasn’t stopped leaders in both countries from rapidly escalating their offensives.

On November 19, the US made its latest move by proposing to broaden its restrictions on technology exports.

China’s military power could match America’s by 2050

By Alex Ward

Chinese President Xi Jinping wants his military to be as powerful as America’s by 2050 — and his control of major economic and military institutions in his country could help him do just that. That’s one of the major takeaways from an annual congressional report released Wednesday morning. The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which provides lawmakers with a yearly update about developments in Beijing, noted that the country has made significant advancements in hypersonic weapons, cyber abilities, and space defense. What’s more, Xi has promoted greater integration among Chinese military services. That means the country is moving toward a “joint” model similar to the way America’s military branches like the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force operate with one another.

China’s Rise as a Geoeconomic Influencer: Four European Case Studies

Philippe Le Corre

Over the past decade, China has become central to the world economy. Building on its economic successes, it is becoming increasingly central in world politics. China is also now more ambitious, aiming to establish itself as a regional as well as a global power. In his October 2017 report to the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th Congress, President Xi Jinping stated that by 2050, China will have “become a global leader in terms of composite national strength and international influence.” Despite a growing internal debate about the country’s international positioning in the context of taking a confrontational tone with the United States, Xi believes he has the power to realize these ambitions. In June 2018, he chaired an important foreign policy meeting in Beijing, which reaffirmed the notions of a foreign policy with Chinese characteristics, “diplomacy of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” and redefined the concept of a “global community of common destiny.”

China’s Military Modernization Takes To The Seas

China’s military modernization is expanding to the open ocean, and the U.S. Navy is worried. 

While the United States Navy struggles to figure out if, how and when it can expand the size of its combat fleet by 47 ships—a 15 percent increase—China’s military modernization efforts are cranking out around a dozen new large warships a year. Recently, the busy shipyard in the port city Dalian put to sea China’s second aircraft carrier, following up on that milestone two months later by simultaneously launching two Type 055-class cruisers. With the U.S. Navy being the only other fleet to operate a large number of vessels of such size and capability, the pace and scale of production at Chinese shipyards is a sign of Beijing’s desire for a fleet commensurate with its perceived status as a great power. 

Why Is America So Scared of China?

by Milton Ezrati
Source Link

More and more, Americans seem to fear China. In one sense, their reaction is understandable enough. As China has gained power—economic, technological, and military—it has morphed from almost an American protégé to a rival. American enthusiasm from earlier in this century, including even wonder at how quickly China adapted to markets, has been replaced by a more realistic wariness. Even considering the altered power balance, today’s fears seem to have taken leave of reality. Although China does indeed present much about which to be wary, even to fear, it is not as formidable as some now seem to claim. It has weaknesses. People, policymakers especially, need to recognize those weaknesses as well as China’s strengths.

Is Major Realignment Taking Place in the Middle East?

By Colin P. Clarke and Ariane M. Tabatabai

Having long criticized U.S. policy in the Middle East, President Donald Trump has outlined the contours of a fresh approach to the region. Last month, his administration unveiled its new Syria strategy, marking a departure from a mission focused on countering the Islamic State (or ISIS) to one aimed at containing Iran. But these new plans don’t consider a critical challenge: the shifting alignments in the region, which have intensified following the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Alignments in the Middle East have long been shifting tectonic plates. For decades, regional powers—particularly Iran, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey—have competed to maximize power against the backdrop of interventions by Russia, the United Kingdom, and, later, the United States. Until recently, the United States and its regional allies—Israel, the majority of the Arab Gulf states, and Turkey—were aligned against Iran. In the aftermath of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, it seemed certain that these regional powers, backed by Washington, would succeed in isolating the mullahs. But myriad domestic, regional, and international factors have combined to obviate this long-standing status quo. The most significant result of these developments has been Turkey’s drift away from the United States and toward Iran and Russia.

Brussels won’t allow Brexit deal do-over

By Jacopo Barigazzi, Maïa de La Baume and Lili Bayer

Brussels is on edge, but it has no intention of going back to the Brexit drawing board.

Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told a meeting of EU27 ambassadors Friday morning that whatever political “difficulties” Theresa May is experiencing in London, the bloc has a “duty” to stand firm on its key Brexit red lines, according to EU diplomats present.

For her part, May is standing firm on the deal in the face of a gale of criticism and is intent on pushing the deal to a vote in the House of Commons. But if political opponents in her own party succeed in forcing her to seek a better deal, there is no sign that any of the EU27 red lines will change.

We cannot “compromise” or engage in “cherry-picking” or “bargaining,” Barnier told ambassadors, referring to requests to reopen the draft deal that was agreed by the British Cabinet on Wednesday. He added that he expects “difficult negotiations” ahead.

European Union Europe’s door is still open – but Britain will have to move fast

Timothy Garton Ash

As Britain agonises over its destiny, I’ve been in Brussels discovering what other Europeans think about Brexit – and therefore what real options Britain still has. Essentially, there are just two. Europe’s door is still open for Britain to stay, if we vote to do so in a second referendum, preferably before the European elections in late May. Otherwise, most of our fellow Europeans would rather we left on 29 March, leaving everything else to be sorted out later and allowing them to get on with confronting their own big challenges.

Of course, it’s impossible to generalise about the views of some 450 million Europeans, but among the leaders and official representatives of the 27 other member states, and the European institutions, there is a remarkable degree of consensus. They are fed up to the back teeth with how long the Brexitdrama has taken and how unrealistic the British side has been.

America’s Permanent-War Complex


What President Dwight D. Eisenhower dubbed the “military-industrial complex” has been constantly evolving over the decades, adjusting to shifts in the economic and political system as well as international events. The result today is a “permanent-war complex,” which is now engaged in conflicts in at least eight countries across the globe, none of which are intended to be temporary.

This new complex has justified its enhanced power and control over the country’s resources primarily by citing threats to U.S. security posed by Islamic terrorists. But like the old military-industrial complex, it is really rooted in the evolving relationship between the national security institutions themselves and the private arms contractors allied with them.

Digital strategy: The four fights you have to win

By Tanguy Catlin, Laura LaBerge, and Shannon Varney

Yesterday’s tentative approaches won’t deliver; you need absolute clarity about digital’s demands, galvanized leadership, unparalleled agility, and the resolve to bet boldly. 

If there’s one thing a digital strategy can’t be, it’s incremental. The mismatch between most incumbents’ business models and digital futures is too great—and the environment is changing too quickly—for anything but bold, inventive strategic plans to work. 

Digital strategy: The four fights you have to win

Unfortunately, most strategic-planning exercises dogenerate incrementalism. We know this from experience and from McKinsey research: on average, resources don’t move between business units in large organizations. A recent book by our colleagues, Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick, seeks to explain what causes this inertia (strategy’s social side, rooted in individual interests, group dynamics, and cognitive biases) and to suggest a way out (understanding the real odds of strategy and overhauling your planning processes to deliver the big moves that can overcome those long odds). 

Say Hello To The Affects Of the Trade War

by Steven Hansen

In past posts I have stated that the pundits expectations of a devastating trade war was overblown. For October, there were a record number of loaded sea container imports that passed through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The graph below shows the significant growth of import containers in October.

Report: America Could Lose a War Against Russia or China

by Jared Keller Task and Purpose

If the United States went to war with Russia or China tomorrow, the military would almost certainly suffer a ” decisive military defeat,” so far that the “security and wellbeing” of the U.S. “are at greater risk than at any time in decades,” according to an alarming new assessment of the Trump administration’s 2018 National Defense Strategy.

- The report, composed by a bipartisan National Defense Strategy Commission selected by Congress, suggests that a likely U.S. military campaign against the Russian military in Northern Europe or with China over the island of Taiwan would yield “enormous” losses of both military personnel and “capital assets” (ships, aircraft, and other vehicles) for the United States.

- The reason is simple: While the U.S. military has “eroded to a dangerous degree” since the end of the Cold War, the Russian and Chinese militaries have come to rival the Pentagon in capabilities previously possessed solely by the U.S., including precision strikes, integrated air defenses, cruise, and ballistic missiles, and “advanced cyber warfare and anti-satellite capabilities.”

Trump’s Protectionist Quagmire


US President Donald Trump's tariffs on imported steel are a perfect example of how protectionism can raise costs for consumers and producers, destroy jobs, and undermine domestic competitiveness. Now that he is considering additional tariffs on imported automobiles, a wide range of US industries should be very worried.

WASHINGTON, DC – After World War II, the United States led the world in reducing protectionist barriers and establishing an open, rules-based trade system. That effort resulted in a half-century of the most rapid economic growth in human history. But US President Donald Trump’s administration is now reversing that progress. The protectionism that Trump has unleashed is contagious and will likely spread well beyond the industries that he wants to insulate from foreign competition.

Brexit and Broken Promises

By Peter Hall

The United Kingdom embraced a political fantasy in June 2016, when a slight majority of Brexit referendum participants voted for the country to leave the European Union. This was already apparent to some at the time. Not long after the vote, for example, pro-Brexit campaigners were forced to walk back claims that leaving the EU would free up 350 million pounds a week for spending on the National Health Service—which is now facing huge staff shortages, partly as a result of the limits on immigration that Brexit was designed to reinforce. But now that the terms of the Brexit agreement have been released, the scale of that fantasy is readily apparent to all. 


How Hamas Brought Israel to the Brink of Election Chaos

by Seth J. Frantzman

Israel’s defense minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned on November 14 in the wake of a ceasefire agreement with Hamas in Gaza. His resignation has now plunged Israeli politics into chaos as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must juggle what’s left of his fragile coalition government and is being pressured to appoint Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, as the new defense minister. Hamas, which has been challenging Israel with six months of protests and rocket fire from Gaza, has now achieved what it sees as a victory. Despite its inability to penetrate Israel’s defenses around Gaza, it may bring down the government.

Singapore has made a blockchain breakthrough for financial markets

Mekebeb Tesfaye

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The cornerstones of large-scale technology transformation

By Michael Bender, Nicolaus Henke, and Eric Lamarre

A clear playbook is emerging for how to integrate and capitalize on advanced technologies—across an entire company, and in any industry. 

How does your company use advanced technologies to create value? This has become the defining business challenge of our time. If you ignore it or get it wrong, then anything from your job to your entire organization could become vulnerable to rivals who get it right. The new technologies come with many labels—digital, analytics, automation, the Internet of Things, industrial internet, Industry 4.0, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and so on. For incumbent companies, they support the creation of all-new, digitally enabled business models, while holding out the vital promise of improving customer experiences and boosting the productivity of legacy operations. Advanced technologies are essential to modern enterprises, and it’s fair to say that every large company is working with them to some extent. 

The cornerstones of large-scale technology transformation

How Cambridge Analytica's Facebook Targeting Model Really Worked - According To The Person Who Built It

by Matthew Hindman

In an email to me, Cambridge University scholar Aleksandr Kogan explained how his statistical model processed Facebook data for Cambridge Analytica. The accuracy he claims suggests it works about as well as established voter-targeting methodsbased on demographics like race, age and gender.

If confirmed, Kogan’s account would mean the digital modeling Cambridge Analytica used was hardly the virtual crystal ball a few have claimed. Yet the numbers Kogan provides also show what is - and isn’t - actually possible by combining personal datawith machine learning for political ends.


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DURING A SPEECH at the annual UNESCO Internet Governance Forum in Paris Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the “Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace,” a new initiative designed to establish international norms for the internet, including good digital hygiene and the coordinated disclosure of technical vulnerabilities. The document outlines nine goals, like helping to ensure foreign actors don’t interfere with elections and working to prevent private companies from “hacking back,” or retaliating for a cybercrime. It’s endorsed by more than 50 nations, 90 nonprofits and universities, and 130 private corporations and groups. The United States is not one of them.

The Paris Call ultimately lacks teeth; it doesn’t require governments or corporations legally adhere to any specific principles. It’s mostly a symbol of the need for diplomacy and cooperation in cyberspace, where it’s hard to enforce any single country’s laws. More notable than the accord itself is who signed it. Major American technology corporations including Microsoft, Facebook, Google, IBM, and HP all endorsed the agreement.

We Need Stronger Cybersecurity Laws for the Internet of Things

Bruce Schneier

Due to ever-evolving technological advances, manufacturers are connecting consumer goods -- from toys to lightbulbs to major appliances -- to the internet at breakneck speeds. This is the Internet of Things, and it's a security nightmare.

The Internet of Things fuses products with communications technology to make daily life more effortless. Think Amazon's Alexa, which not only answers questions and plays music but allows you to control your home's lights and thermostat. Or the current generation of implanted pacemakers, which can both receive commands and send information to doctors over the internet.

But like nearly all innovation, there are risks involved. And for products borne out of the Internet of Things, this means the risk of having personal information stolen or devices being overtaken and controlled remotely. For devices that affect the world in a direct physical manner -- cars, pacemakers, thermostats -- the risks include loss of life and property.

Hypersonic Boost-Glide Weapons and Challenges to International Security

By Ankit Panda

Editor’s Note: The following is an edited and compressed version of remarks delivered by the author at a recent workshop in Geneva, Switzerland, hosted by the United Nations, on the international security implications of hypersonic boost-glide weapons.

I’ve been asked to address an important topic that is overdue for serious attention in the area of international disarmament studies and arms control. I’ll be building on the earlier presentation we received from on the state of long-range conventional weapon technology worldwide and focus mainly international security implications of hypersonic weapons, focusing primarily on the subgenre of hypersonic boost-glide weapons — HGVs, for short — which present, in my view, a pressing set of challenges.

Stephen Fry pronounces the death of classical liberalism: ‘We are irrelevant and outdated bystanders’

Stephanie Convery

Politics is so toxic right now, why not just opt out completely? When Stephen Fry proposed this approach to Sydney’s packed Town Hall on Saturday night, he was greeted with a wave of sympathy.

“A grand canyon has opened up in our world,” Fry said. On one side is the new right, promoting a bizarre mixture of Christianity and libertarianism; on the other, the “illiberal liberals”, obsessed with identity politics and complaining about things like cultural appropriation. These tiny factions war above, while the rest of us watch, aghast, from the chasm below.

When the world was at war

November 11, 2018, was a special day. Do you know why? Because it was the centenary of Armistice Day. A 100 years ago, at 11.00 am on November 11 — the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month — the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany at Compiegne, France, brought World War I to an end. When the war began on July 28, 1914, no one believed that it would last for four long, dreadful years.

This was the first truly global war involving countries across all the continents. Over 30 countries were involved, with the main combatants — Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Serbia, and the U.S. on one side and Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire on the other. From a regional conflict in the Balkan states of Europe, the war engulfed not only the continent but also spread to Africa and West Asia. Countries as far away as Canada and Australia also joined the war as did colonies of Britain like India. Over 65 million men joined the armies of their countries either voluntarily or through conscription.

Filling the gap